The Nissan Leaf is being tested on rural roads, in the evolvAD autonomous driving project

The Nissan Leaf is being tested on rural roads, in the evolvAD autonomous driving project

Nissan and the UK Government are working on a new research project, called evolvAD, to bring autonomous driving to residential and rural roads in the UK. The Nissan Leaf will be the protagonist, to further improve the autonomous driving technology by testing it in different driving environments.

The British government has launched a project called changeAD to conduct autonomous driving research in rural areas. Through the British innovation agency, Innovate UK, the evolvAD project will have a budget of 100 million pounds and will last for 21 months. It is led by Nissan, which will have four other technical partners to develop a supply chain to produce self-driving cars in the UK. Nissan’s successor in the UK – Honda to cease production in 2021 – explains why efforts are being stepped up to avoid tariffs on UK car sales to the EU.

New use of surveillance cameras in evolveAD

Nissan will use its Leaf design in the project, produced in Japan and England, of which more than one million units have already been manufactured. In evolveAD the use of a comprehensive endowment of surveillance cameras in the UK to benefit from autonomous driving. There is an infrastructure of more than seven million cameras on the streets and it is estimated that an individual is caught by these cameras about 70 times a day. More than that, interactions between vehicles will be tested and a network of communicating road infrastructure.

Contrary to what one might think, driving at high speeds on highways is less certain than driving in cities, whether in towns or cities. The parameters presented by the unpredictable behavior of pedestrians and other road users make autonomous driving in cities very difficult.

Driving in rural areas is just as challenging as driving in cities, with the added difficulty of generally higher speeds, worse visibility, winding roads connecting towns and sometimes non-existent signs. The development of evolvAD will be done through computer simulations and in test tracks are closed to the public, before actual testing on public roads. The Japanese brand already started testing autonomous driving with its Nissan Leaf in the UK in 2017. Currently, the automatic driving – called Pro-Pilot in Nissan – is content to be a driving assistant in certain situations, with permanent management of the driver.

Self-driving cars were aimed at rural areas

90 percent of the time a private car is stationary, parked. The car of freedom is associated with the benefit of avoid long parking, because they will serve and move many times. And when they are idle, they will take the opportunity to go to the payment center, when the next service comes.

With an urban vision it can be assumed that taxis and VTC vehicles address the current needs of individual public transport. In some large cities there is such an oversupply of taxis that mandatory rest days are imposed. However, In more isolated rural areas the provision of mobility is often precarious.

Nissan Leaf, protagonist of Nissan’s evolvAD project with the UK Government.

In pursuit of universal mobility

In other areas, there are taxis within twenty kilometers, and a regular bus in the morning and another in the afternoon. Other groups can only focus mobility -even more, leave your area- as something unique. England, with the spread of a large rural population, find mobility for everyone in a self-driving car, is not the basis of car ownership. In Spain they have emerged programs such as He lives next to Hyundai, which since 2019 has helped municipalities implement a shared electric car service that can provide an alternative form of mobility for their neighbors.